Throwback with us to one of the last iconic performances John Denver would give for The Wildlife Concert in 1995.
No one captured America in music quite like John Denver. Moreover, this legendary folk, Americana, and country singer/songwriter was famously one to use his immense talent for good.
Denver didn’t just sing effortlessly about the “serenity of a clear blue mountain lake” or climbing “cathedral mountains” – he lived it – and did everything he could to ensure the survival of America’s vast, priceless wilds. As much a humanitarian, conservationist, and activist as he was a musician, Denver wove his deep love of nature into nearly every song he wrote.
As such, his iconic hits like “Take Me Home, Country Roads”, “Rocky Mountain High”, “Calypso”, “Thank God I’m a Country Boy”, and “Sunshine on My Shoulders” all display the brilliance of his connection with nature – and moreover, America herself.
While such songs would bring him great fame in the 1970s, John Denver would not find the same success musically in later decades. As a result, he began focusing more on his activism and humanitarian work.
John Denver Shines On in The Wildlife Concert
With a deep passion for conservation, the icon’s devotion to the environment and wildlife shines most prominently through his 1995 live concert benefit, The Wildlife Concert.
The 1995 concert was broadcast live across America, and brought an entirely new generation of fans to his music. Denver organized the concert himself to benefit the Wildlife Conservation Society. Within, he would give now-iconic performances of staples like “Sunshine On My Shoulders” and, of course – “Rocky Mountain High”.
Through the lyrics of each, John Denver effortlessly conveyed his own passion for preservation and conservation to all watching and listening from home. Below, we’re watching The Wildlife Concert‘s legendary rendition of “Rocky Mountain High” for this Country Throwback.
Watch, and listen, as Denver brings “Rocky Mountain High” to life like never before less than two years before his untimely death in 1997.
Music video by John Denver performing Rocky Mountain High (from The Wildlife Concert). (P) 1995 Sony Music EntertainmentJohn Denver Official YouTube
Denver’s Last Years
Tragically, John Denver would take his last flight just a few short years after this famous concert. Come October 12, 1997, Denver’s experimental Rutan Long-EZ plane crashed into Monterey Bay. The tragedy took place in Pacific Grove, California, after the icon had completed a set of touch-and-go landings. Denver was the sole passenger of his aircraft that day.
In the few short remaining years of his life, however, Denver would go on to film an episode for the prominent PBS series, Nature. Within, Denver spoke on many of the American natural wonders that inspired his best-loved songs.
Moreover, the last song he would ever write, “Yellowstone, Coming Home”, would continue this tradition. “Yellowstone” was composed on a Colorado rafting trip with his son and daughter.
Shortly after, Denver would give his last public performance in Corpus Christi, Texas. Watch as he sings “Boy from the Country” and “Amazon” to adoring fans in the Selena Auditorium.